RELS 318 Daoism

Philosophical Daoism derives its ethics and aesthetics from nature. Originating in c.500bce China, Daoism has continued to shape some of the most poetic and profound ideas of our place in the cosmos. East and Southeast Asia were greatly influenced by the spread of Daoism, both in its earlier, philosophical forms and its later, religious forms. Now, however, appreciation of these ideas has found global appeal, as modern readers continue to discover the beauty, humor, and depth of this early school of thought. The basic assumption of Daoism is that the cosmos has a guiding principle - a dao, a dharma, a logos - that cannot be described in writing because it is always in flux. Nevertheless, for humans to live freely and gracefully, they must discover this Way and live according to it. In this class we will read both primary texts and secondary scholarship in an attempt to apprehend this fascinating and abiding worldview.

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